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Other jurisdictions choosing greater setbacks between homes and industrial wind turbines; Ontario has not changed since 2009. New setback of 2 km recommended

Turbines more than 600 feet or 60 storeys high in South Dundas [Photo: Tom Van Dusen for OBJ]

March 25, 2022

Complaints about wind turbine noise and environmental damage have never wound down in Ontario yet regulations to protect people and the environment have not changed since 2009, according to a story in this week’s Ottawa Business Journal.

While some landowners in the area signed up for “easy cash” by leasing land for wind turbines, they admit that the machines are noisy and may bother some people.

The need for wind power must be balanced with concern for health and safety, which is why greater setbacks have been recommended by Wind Concerns Ontario. The community group coalition recommends setbacks for any new wind turbines should be a minimum of 2 kilometres.

The Ontario setback currently is just 550 metres.

Other jurisdictions around the world and in the U.S. are now moving to greater setback distances.

Another issue of concern noted in the story was brought forward by Ontario’s MUlti-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group, a collection of municipalities with operating wind power projects and experience with impacts of the turbines.

The group is worried about the increasing number of wind turbine failures and says that setbacks from public roadways and property lines are inadequate to protect safety. The municipalities also say there is no process for alerting municipalities of a failure event, nor are the results of any engineering investigations shared.

After completion of its Official Plan, the City of Ottawa is now working on developing new zoning bylaws. Ottawa Wind Concerns has been sharing information with city staff, and hopes that new setbacks for wind turbines in the Ottawa area will reflect the trends to greater distances.

Ottawa’s rural politicians claim there are no plans for industrial-scale or grid-scale wind turbines, but city staff say the Energy Evolution calls for wind and solar to provide electricity for Net Zero goals.